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Livestream Screenshot

Google wants to make its Android mobile operating system the platform of choice for virtual and augmented reality.

Takeaway: Google is clearly playing to its mobile strengths. Its mobile OS is widely used, making it well positioned to approach the race via smartphones and their makers. Rivals Microsoft and Intel, on the other hand, are working to apply their PC strengths to VR by building powerful hardware platforms.

Here's how it's leveraging Android:

  • Smartphones: Daydream, Google's VR software is built into Android, and its headsets work by slipping a supported smartphone into it. This means that Google's VR platform can expand its reach as more and more Android phones are built with the computing power required for virtual reality. There are already four Daydream-ready smartphones, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ will also add support this summer—a huge step given the popularity of the Galaxy S line.
  • Tango AR: Like with VR, Google is focusing its augmented reality efforts on smartphones with its Tango platform. It's adding a second Tango-supported smartphone later this year.
  • Standalone VR headset: At its annual developer conference, Google announced that it's working on standalone headsets that won't require a smartphone, cables or anything else. Again, Google is taking a platform approach by working with Qualcomm on the chip front, and HTC (maker of the hugely popular VR headset Vive) and Lenovo to manufacture the first devices later this year.

To catch up on everything announced on Google I/O Day 1, click here.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
41 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO wants to compete against Apple

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn't given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.

  • In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.

Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer, but picked up a new rival.

45 mins ago - Health

Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in an "Axios on HBO" interview, said he's reluctant to withhold federal funding from states that won't enforce school mask mandates because he doesn't want to hurt students.

Why it matters: Cardona's comments suggest there are limits to how far the Biden administration will go in pressuring states to adopt universal masking — or vaccine mandates.

Mike Allen, author of AM
56 mins ago - Axios on HBO

GOP senator smacks Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told “Axios on HBO” he’s not sure former President Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination if he ran in 2024 — a rare voice of criticism from within the party.

  • When I raised the conventional wisdom that Trump would be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in.“
  • I don't know that,” the senator said during our interview in Chalmette, La.